Friday 3 July 2009

Go Tom! Go! Go!

Local finance commentator Mark Beath, who runs the ever-excited Kitchen Slut, writes on the downfall and destruction of Tom Hedley's Cairns construction empire....

  • "...anyone who has followed and understood some of the goings on in here on Hedley it's worthy of a book! So to begin somewhere if not the beginning .....

    1) The Courier-Mail and Business spectator reported the representative of receiver Korda Mentha had blamed the collapse on Hedley's margin loan over his HLG holding and the GFC market slump. From the nation's most prestigious receiver, if correctly reported, this is the biggest crock of deluded or lying bullshit I have almost ever heard in finance!

    It may have been a factor however the margin loan itself was initially an undisclosed loan in apparent breach of Hedley's escrow provisions under the IPO. The margin loan was for just $8 million in respect of 20 million securities out of a total holding of $77 million. It was minor compared to Hedley's supposed wealth and reported debts.

    The problem was that it got caught up in an embarrassing transaction related to the Opes Prime collapse when Tricom, for whatever reason, tried to snatch the holding back out of the Opes wreckage. Tom disclosed last July that he had repaid the loan and ANZ released the stock, yet now we are told it is pivotal to the collapse? Utter BULLSHIT which is a disgrace to the reputation of Korda Mentha if correctly reported."

How can someone with $650m suddenly be bankrupt? With Tom Hedley in receivership, the Cairns Post headline is again in typically heroic terms.

"I'm curious about the NLG transaction last week to repay Tom’s mezzanine loan," author of Kitchen Slut Mark Beath says.

Beath networks with a number of senior national financial journalists and believes many aspects of Hedley are of concern.

"Most particularly the report early this year that CFO Donnelly had departed after HLG revealed an inappropriate unapproved $1 million+ transaction from the public to private entity which had been subsequently reversed?" he says. "What are the implications regards ASIC or have people stuck their head in the sand? This story doesn’t wash, Cairns deserves better."

Even the fake Twitter account that the Cairns Regional Council have failed to close down, posted yesterday that Hedley's legacy is "shitty ugly buildings with cheap falling apart units." They announced "tradies dudded [sic]; assets hidden, damage to Cairns for years to come!"

I have to agree that there's a trail of horrible high-rise apartments that have sprawled into the suburbs from Woree to Clifton Beach, and it's not only Byne's former Council that have endorsed and approved these ghettos. The current Council have signed off on a raft of these Hedley, CEC and GlenCorp high-density complexes in the last 12 months.

Some current Hedley constructions will continue to trade and finish projects, the fallout will be widespread and have a drastic effect of those employed.


Arthur Festerbestertester said...

it is extraordinary that there hasn't already been an asic investigation of this loan, given how the circumstances were so widely known.

although hedley is small beer, the case serves to show once again - as if we needed it - how pathetic asic is.

just ask the thousands and thousands of mum and dad investors, employees and subcontractors who have done their dough in all the collapses recently.

think babcock and brown, opes prime, timbercorp and great southern, allco, abc learning, and so on, then think back a few years to the bonds, the skates, HIH, OneTel, Adsteam, Pyramid, TriCon, Elders and (almost) all the state banks.

it is a horrific list, and even more horrific is the lack of action by our politicians, our regulators, our law enforcement agencies and the justice system.

KitchenSlut said...

Thanks Festerbestertester! The other thing thats extraordinary is that there has been no investigation or media coverage of the rapid departure of Hedleys longtime sidekick and Financial Officer Donnelly in February after HLG revealed in an announcement earlier this year that they had discovered an unauthorised transfer of $1 million plus from the listed public vehicle to Tom Private?

The announcement stated that this unauthorised transaction had been reversed with interest when discovered. The discovery and reversal revealed with the half yearly accounts process (refer to account notes) seems to have taken a month or more? How odd?

Denis Walls said...

Reassuring to know that the escrow provision under IPO was connected to Hedley's marginal HLG holding within the context of the GFC. I, too, am curious about the NLG transaction and its relationship to CFO Donnelly, CEC, CRC, ASIC, Korda Mentha, Roadrail, Piglead, Firewood, Ironware and Cheap Tin Trays.

KitchenSlut said...

Your crypticism is appreciated Dendo! Obviously code for deeper revelations? Cheap Tin Trays? I have been told there is a futures market for these in Azerbaijan and that Donnelly may be found in a market there flogging tin trays surplus from Tom's pubs?

However, I was also told by a man in the bar at the Stratty pub with multiple Pauline Hansen tatts that Donnelly had been cryogenically preserved in the cold room at the Red Beret. Can't be much more authoritative than that?

Regardless, as updated at Kitchenslut I suspect there maybe a story in what happened to Tom's payout on his Coles transaction which was in shares subsequently transferred into Wesfarmers on the takeover! The timing on subsequent transactions here maybe illuminating?

Personally, as a smaller WES holder who unlike Tom followed the advice of Warren Buffet 'be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful' KS made enough from the recent capital raising and mostly pleasant volatility in WES to fund his Pinot Noir budget for the next year or more. Much to the chagrin of many I should say!!

I think about this on every visit to the RSL as I contemplate bold actions by local heroes such as Donnelly and Kern who bravely defended the mythology of Our Tom by almost single handedly defending the price on day one of the float? What heroes! What losses!

There was an unsubtantiated rumour from an only slightly less authoritative source than the man at Stratty Pub with the Hansen tatts that some local identities may have been paid to support the float? I make no accusations or conclusions there!

I simply raise my wine glass to the memorial when they play the ode at the RSL and think of these local heroes who have sacrificed so much for Cairns and recite ....

Lest We Forget!

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

I've got some minor plumbing work I need done. Was Tom any good as a plumber? Or should I call someone else?

Normally don't revel in the failures of others, but Tom's built so much crap around town that he's shown much contempt for the majority of the community. These crap projects will live on as a memorial to this greedy bastard.

Anonymous said...

I remember him (well, one of his apprentices) putting all the hot and cold water pipes back to front, when he was still working for KEL. Remember them ?

FNQ Watermelon said...

Clifton Beach!!!
I thought it was renamed to Mooroobool of the beaches. But Tommy Tommy the Plumber, it is good to see him go - shame about the subbies, suppose they will all now go south.

ASIC INVESTIGATION: We all know that ASIC is pathetic. Thats common knowledge.

Considering we have only been in paradise for a couple of years, the stench of hedley and his gang are well known all over the place for his Greed and his contempt.

Q. Did he ever complete a project on time and on or under the quoted budget?

Mousetrap said...

The Cairns Post with its positive spin...Cairns Post 4th July is advocating what a wonderful man Hedley was/is.

Well if only they would investigate his true form they would be better informed.

This is not the first time that Hedley's companies have gone bankrupt. His previous pursuits with plumbing have resulted in several financial failure.

His philanthropy was all in the name of self aggrandisement in pursuit of further opportunities.

It was not done with his own money but with the unpaid toil of others!

Moreover, like the Phoenix each time he fails, he rises to trade again. One must ask where from does he get the money to start again?

To the common man "if one is broke then one is broke"

Hedley, like many other later day entrepreneurs, seems to defy logic. Can some one please explain how it is done?

Aunty Jack said...

Yes, as usual, the Compost are only presenting one side of Mr Hedley - the good side.

The bad side amongst other things includes current legal action for breach of contract to build a couple a home because he essentially destroyed any amenity and value in their current home and through an out of court settlement, he agreed to certain conditions, all of which he has not met since the beginning 2008.

This couple are now victims, along with many others, either out of pocket or out of a job.

So Mr Hedly is not a man of his word, and his honour sucks!

Denis Walls said...

To Mousetrap and how a developer is resurrected after being declared bankrupt with zillions of $$ debt: try squirrelling beforehand in havens such as Jersey, Guernsey, Cayman Is etc; or try family trusts, your wife's and children's names, art works (although nobody told Tom or Joe about the resell value of the Green Woman!); or the short hiatus permitted in law before, Lazarus like, the miraculous resurrection occurs to infest our landscape once more.

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

the compost article was about the worst example of sycophancy i have read in many a year.

no wonder compost and its publisher news corporation have such a terrible public reputation.

that was not journalism, that was out and out toadyism.

what was that rubbish about allowing his partner to speak?

What was that rubbish about the pain of hedley's financial collapse revealed?

i wonder if these jerks asked him if all his employees have received all their entitlements: superannuation guarantee, leave entitlements including long-service leave and holiday pay, etcetera etcetera.

Did these jerks asks if his subcontractors and suppliers have been paid up in full?

Did these jerks ask former employees and former suppliers and sub-contractors whether they were also heartbroken?

And not one question about the financial arrangements that have been the subject of legitimate public comment over the past few months, not least on this blog.

That's just for starters, and these hopeless jerks didn't even get to first base.

Mousetrap said...

While the Cairns Post is trying to sanitise and show up his discredited philanthropy lets throw into the mix the following sequence of events.

This will show how much respect he had for an icon that enhanced the cultural reputation of Redlynch.

Redlynch was the home of noted Australian author Xavier Herbert of "Poor Fellow my Country"

It was common knowledge that a Committee in 1994 had been set up to save the home and the adjoining tin shed where Herbert did most of his writing and indeed where he kept his manuscripts.

The aim was to convince Council and Government to purchase the home so as to keep it in public perpetuity.

Hedley got wind of this proposed action and in an instant purchased the Home. No sooner had the ink dried on the purchase settlement that he demolished the shed during the weekend.

The Committee pleaded with him to show magnanimity and refrain from demolishing the shed. He treated the Committee and more sadly the heritage with disdain and contempt.

I wonder if the Cairns Post for the purposes of balance going to do a story on this sorry saga.

Anonymous said...

Hedley, "the nice down-to-earth bloke" can undoubtly look forward to a comfortable retirement, which is more than can be said about the investors and subbies that dealt with him.

There will be enquiries and nothing will happen..What it means for subbies like myself, who never got involved with the likes of Hedley and CMC, is more competition from desperate out-of-work tradespeople trying to survive.

Half my work is done at cost-price at the moment, just to keep 2 apprentices going. Profits on the rest have become very marginal and long-term this won't be sustainable.

So, while the big end of town continues to destroy this place with their ill-planned developments and then walk away, the rest of us are left to deal with the consequences.

So next time you decide to get six quotes and squeeze every last bit of profit out of your painter, tiler, carpenter,handyman etc. think again.. it might be your kid looking for a job or apprenticeship one day.

There are a lot of honest, hard-working employers here, who are hurting badly through no fault of their own.

KitchenSlut said...

I understand Tom did pay out on quite a few debts around town in the last days. I had thought the cash for this may come from NLG repaying it's mezzanine loan from Tom just before new year. However the SMH has reported that Tom may have only got 10c in the dollar back on the agreed deal? Tom is a 20% shareholder in NLG.

The entire deal for NLG to sell a few assets and use the funds to repay Tom was announced, settled and over within a week. The buyer of the assets was ALH the Woolies pub group. If nothing else the transaction will help the pub groups validate their asset valuations just prior to year end. Oh, what a pathetic cynic I am!

The unknown still seems to be how he played his Wesfarmers position? Tom's payout from Coles was 19.7 million shares @$11. The Wesfarmers offer valued these around $16 when the deal was done in November 2007. Handy profits indeed!

Tom played a role by committing to the Wesfarmers offer early and providing his voting rights looking for an increased scrip component in the offer. Assuming Tom took the maximum share deal it would have been worth say @$200 million in Wesfarmers and @$50 million cash at end November 2007. So what has happened to that?

Wesfarmers tumbled from $40 to $15 before a capital raising earlier this year provided a golden moment for cashed up shareholders to redeem losses at the expense of those who couldn't. If he has been substantially margined into WES and tried to hang on in this fall he could have indeed been wiped on this position. Or did he exit sometime after the takeover? Who knows?

Thats aside from any problems in the property division which was obviously overextended at peak cycle .....

KitchenSlut said...

P.S. Tax havens Dendo? What no mention of Swiss bank accounts?

If you google the website of Capital Globe promoter of the recently approved non conforming tower down in Kenny St you may find that, apart from LHL, private Swiss bank accounts is indeed a proncipal business!?

Oddly, some of the links seem to be to the global financial centre of Islamabed which is renowned for integrity and standards of corporate governance.

nocturnal congress said...

ROFL KitchenSlut.

Thornton On Spence said...

One of the biggest sources of revenue for The Cairns Post next to Harvey Norman has been Tom and his various companies advertising in the rag. They can hardly kick him in the teeth or report accuartely as they fear the repurcussions if he starts up again as we all know he will. Instead they create this shy, philanthropic hero who is too distressed to grant an interview.
Log on to for the real story.

Thornton On Spence said...

For those of you unfamiliar with The Sydney Morning Herald Website

At the top right corner is a search facility and all you need to type in is Tom Hedley and click Go. Then you will read all the real stories about what this philanthropic shy entrepreneur has left as his legacy.

nocturnal congress said...

Thanks Thornton on Spence for the website addy. I've been in and read up on their coverage of Hedley's demise. Here are some excerpts:

"Only two of Mr Hedley's hotels are unaffected by the collapse of his empire: the Aussie Inn Hotel in South Australia and the Lakeview Hotel in NSW. They are both leased from the publicly listed Hedley Leisure and Gaming Property Fund.

They could be all Mr Hedley has left, as most of his partially built residential developments will likely be sold to repay bank debts."

"......However, other industry sources said the margin loans were a convenient scapegoat, when the real reason for the collapse was simply too much debt and too many pubs bought at the top of the market."

(Apologies for cutting and pasting, but I thought this was important for the readers.)

Thornton On Spence said...

Interestingly Capital Globe appears to be a Pakistani Company judging by the Directors names as well as maintaining offices in Karachi and Islamabad. There is Chinese writing and a Hong Kong Head Office but if you check out their Food Operations again you can see the Pakistan involvement.

nocturnal congress said...

The more one investigates, the more murkier Capital Globe sounds...I'd like to know just why are they depending on Government contracts?

KitchenSlut said...


If you look at the Capital Globe investment operation via the Swiss bank accounts you will find links from the underlying Swiss investment manager back into Pakistan.

I wasn't aware of any similar links with the food operation which I understand operates via joint venture domiciled in The Bahamas?

However a recent report from the Compost indicates in addition to the Kenny St slumbs tower we may soon be also privileged with a Capital Globe 'Avenue A' pizza franchise?

Can't wait for the opening special. Maybe the 'Big Kev halal pork fat pizza'? Perhaps that routine with the Arafat head teatowel a few years back takes on new meaning?

Thaddeus said...

Just idle speculation, but the Pakistani Government under Musharaff claimed not to have received millions of $$ stashed away in Swiss bank accounts by Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Zardari. In 2003, the Swiss Government found the pair guilty of money laundering and ordered them to pay millions of $$ back to Pakistan. Musharaff claimed the Govt never received it.

Anonymous said...

Beware the next::

Paul Gregory is already wearing their hat:

They’re in Val’s ear:

Bonneau is in their pocket:

Blake is sniffing around like a ___ on heat:

Tabulo has probably been given shares:

Who are they??

Starts with a CON and ends with an ICS::

Enough Rope

Unknown said...

front page of todays cairns post is talking more truth then half the crap posted on here ...

its time that you guys stop putting the boot in when the guy is down

nocturnal congress said...

Asif Zardari is currently the President of Pakistan. There has been considerable publicity and speculation about "his" wealth amassed during his marriage with Benazir Bhutto. Pakistan however if full of dodgy entrepreneurs and "investors". It wouldn't surprise me however if an in depth investigation of Capital Globe leads straight to Zardari who seems to me to be a cunning criminal.

KitchenSlut said...

Todays Compost report is certainly far more objective. However,it's quite reasonable to be cynical and ask questions given the massive extent of the wipeout.

I don't think I've got too much wrong in the past on the structural flaws and shenanigans surrounding Hedley's public company forays. The people I feel sorry for are those who were mis-sold HLG on the false mythology of Tom Hedley.

If there had bene more critical analysis instead of sycophancy in recent years perhaps much of the pain could have been avoided. What has been instead revealed is an overgeared group with questionable financial controls and competence.

Most of Tom's HLG holding has now been thrown into the asset sale it seems, which is interesting as this was previosuly reported to be insulated. The receiver lodged a substantial holder notice yesterday over 43% of HLG being most, but not all, of Tom's holding which raises some interesting lease issues.

The relevant section of the IPO document raises at what point this provision triggers with the receivers reported by Cairns Post to be looking to offload the stock?

"Tenant Buyback Rights
Pursuant to the terms of their leases, Coles, NLG and Grant Samuel Pub Operations have the right to buyback at
market value the Pubs’ freehold if a party unrelated to the Hedley Group acquires 20% or greater of the Stapled
Securities and TWH (QLD)’s holding of Stapled Securities on issue is less than 50%, or if there is a change in control
of the Responsible Entity (without the consent of the relevant tenant). This may limit upside on the value of the Stapled"

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

who's kicking hedley? the kicks are directed at the appalling performance by the cairns post, our politicians, our regulators (especially asic) and our law-enforcement agencies.

sure there are some very serious questions being asked, but they are 100% legitimate in the context of his or any other corporate failure.

one of the reasons for australia's dreadful record of corporate collapse - billions upon billions lost by mum and dad investors over the past 35 years - is that these questions don't get asked often enough.